Costa RicaCosta Rica

Certification Procedures

General Documents:

The procedures required to authenticate any document may vary depending on the Consulate of Costa Rica nearest you. The average time to authenticate a document, once the Consulate of Costa Rica receives it, is five business days.

The procedure required to authenticate any document at the General Consulate of Costa Rica in Washington, D. C. or any Consulate of Costa Rica in the U.S. must be followed:

1.  Request an official copy of your document from the presiding agency. Please consult with each agency regarding specific requirements and forms.

2. If your document is not issued by an official government agency, it must be certified by a notary public in the state where the document was issued. Documents issued by government organizations do not require notary public certification.

3. All documents must be sent to the ruling state, provincial, or federal government for authentication. (In the United States, this will be the Secretary of State/Commonwealth.) The state may call this certification, but it is not the same as an apostille. Contact your state or province for specific authentication requirements. Explain the purpose of the authentications residency, marriage abroad, etc.  and they will know what procedures are necessary.

4. Now you must authenticate your documents with the appropriate Costa Rican consulate. In the United States, the Washington, D.C. Consulate can authenticate all documents; local consulates have jurisdiction over smaller state groupings. (please see our authentication rate chart.)

5.  A certified translator must translate your authenticated documents into Spanish. This may be done in your home country or in Costa Rica; contact your embassy, lawyer or consulate for translator referrals.

6. Once translated, your documents must be sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores) in San Jose for document legalization.

You may hand deliver or mail your documents to the nearest Consulate of Costa Rica. Use our Commercial Directory to search for the nearest Costa Rican Consulate to your residence.

If you mail your documents via U.S. mail or courier to the Consulate of Costa Rica in Washington D.C., you will be required to enclose a self-addressed and stamped U.S. priority mail envelope. Your authenticated documents will be returned to you via mail.

If you use a private courier (e.g. DHL, FEDEX, U.P.S.), please include a note with your courier information, and a courier self-addressed envelope with your account number. The Consulate of Costa Rica will call your courier when your documents are ready for pickup.

The Consulates of Costa Rica assume no responsibility for documents sent via standard mail. Thus, always mail your documents with a tracking number so you can obtain proof of delivery for your own references.

Transcripts & Diplomas:

1.To begin, you must certify the signatures contained on your transcript and/or diploma at the school or university that granted the transcript and/or diploma. The certification must be issued in the same county and state where you attended the school or university. For example, if you graduated from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), UCLA must issue the certification. If another University of California Campus certifies your documents, the certification will not be valid for authentication purposes. To obtain certification, request that the school or university's notary public add a note to your transcript and/or diploma certifying that the signatures contained on your transcripts and/or diploma are authentic. The notary public's legal seal must accompany this note.

For transcripts the certification must read:

"I certify that this is an official transcript and the signatures adhered to this document attest to its authenticity"

For diplomas the certification must read:

"This is to certify that the diploma granted by University of (College of) is an authentic copy and the signatures adhered to this diploma attest to its authenticity"

2. Once you have obtained certification from your school or university, you must send the transcript and/or diploma for authentication with the ruling state, provincial, or federal government for authentication. (In the United States, this will be the Secretary of State/Commonwealth.) Request document authentication for foreign use.

3.  Now you must authenticate your transcript and/or diploma with the appropriate Costa Rican consulate. In the United States, the Washington, D.C. Consulate can authenticate all documents; local consulates have jurisdiction over smaller state groupings. The authentication process for transcripts and diplomas takes five business days after the Consulate receives your transcripts and/or diplomas.

4. A certified translator must translate your twice-authenticated transcript and/or diploma into Spanish. This may be done in your home country or in Costa Rica; contact your embassy, lawyer or consulate for translator referrals.

5. Once translated, your transcript and/or diploma must be sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores) in San Jose for document legalization.